An editorial on Thomas the Tank Engine and PBS Kids is up at Green Spot Blue. Here is part of the introduction of the article:
It all starts so innocently.
And it always begins the same. Thomas the Tank Engine, we all (parents and children alike) get indoctrinated via the cute little wooden railway toys.
They are so fun and who doesn’t like putting the tracks together! My son and I always like to lead the track under furniture, but that is just us, I’m sure.
Oh, the toys are expensive and really we parents should’ve taken that as the first warning sign to run for the hills. (Seriously, when did 15 dollars for a little wooden train make economic sense?) And like Scientology with their free personality tests, Thomas inches you forward subtly until finally, your child is sleeping in a bed covered with Thomas sheets, your TV is running episodes every day and you can’t get that blasted theme song out of your head (both the version with lyrics and without).
I’ve been there, fellow parents. And like an alcoholic at AA let me tell you there are better life style options out there for you (and your kids). Because when you really step back and look at Thomas and its show and its message, it’s all… well… smoke.
T0 read the rest of the article (where I also give some suggestions on how the show could be made better and more educational), please click here.
I have a new editorial on GreenSpotBlue. This time I take on the problems with the modern Sesame Street. Here is an excerpt:
There is that expression you can’t go home again, and as the older I get the more I am surprised by how much that exactly relates to. From old haunts from my college days long closed to family gatherings where beloved members are no longer with us, things are different, changed, and never will be like they once were. It’s a sad fact of life. Yet, as a parent I never thought it would be true of Sesame Street.
Sesame Street, growing up, was one of my streets. It was real to me and I loved the show. I had favorite characters (I was Super Grover for one Halloween and Ernie for another; thanks to my mom’s amazing ability to make costumes) and I had many of the songs memorized. For example, when counting to twelve it is impossible for me, even to this day, not to sing the numbers like the Pointer Sisters.
So when I became a father I looked forward to introducing my son to the street I “grew up” on. But the days of Mr. Hooper are long gone. The days where stories would unfold over the hour with “commercials” about the alphabet and numbers in between has joined our favorite shopkeep. It is a show now of scheduled “segments” each one a show onto itself, losing the spontaneity, surprises, and energy that made the original an unpredictable joy to watch.
To read more of the article (including my point by point issues with the show and what can be done to save it), click here.